Feeling pissed off about the economy? Come on down to the 2009 NYC Pillow Fight tomorrow at 3PM.

Today is Barack Obama’s sixtieth day in office as the President of the United States of America. He is doing the most impossible job at what may be the most impossible time. I was surprised to see how quickly he addressed many of my concerns ranging from Guantanamo Bay and the War in Iraq to issues of social change. Of course, the big topic is the economy. His proposed budget is an extremely progressive sign of landmark change. I suppose it’s fair to say that we all have mixed emotions about the economic crisis as we should, our President included. Putting all of this aside, Barack made history yesterday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as the first sitting US President to appear as a guest on a late night talk show. It feels really good to have a president that makes me laugh and smile. I simply can’t think of another Head of State known for his character and affability to Barack’s tune, and this is no small thing in leadership at times like these.

Ed Ulbrich is the visual effects Executive Producer at Digital Domain and a frequent collaborator of film director, David Fincher. Straight out of film school, I had the pleasure to work with him. On several occasions, I found myself engaged in conversations with Ed about the future of filmmaking and the role technology will continually play. I was always inspired by his sense of enthusiasm and tenacity to be at the forefront of an inevitable shift. Over the last several years, he has lead a team of over 150 digital artists to create seamless FX for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Here he gives a TED talk on the long process of creating a digital Bratt Pitt that is both emotive and realistic.

Shepard Fairey is a street artist and designer who had always been most known for his image of Andre the Giant’s face. Different versions of the image have appeared on walls in just about every country on the globe, as part of a campaign known as Andre the Giant Has A Posse. Fairey’s Hope posters that have become synonymous with Barack Obama’s candidacy for US President are now an overnight symbol of an unparalleled event. He recently spoke with Charlie Rose about his more than twenty year career that has lead up to this poster. A retrospective of his work is currently on display at ICA in Boston. In a peculiar string of events, Shepard Fairey found himself in prison on the eve of the show’s opening.

This past summer we saw many images of China’s new shiny architecture proudly on display for the world during the Olympic events. One of the structures that had been frequently seen in newspapers and on TV was the China Central Television Complex. Part of the CCTV complex was the soon to be opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The building has been completely destroyed in a fire accidently set by stray fireworks from the annual Lantern Festival that marks the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. Here are more images of the building ablaze. Remarkably the incident only claimed one life, that of a firefighter.

At today’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America, the benediction speech was given by civil rights leader Rev. Jospeh Echols Lowery. The closing moments of his speech were just so perfectly uplifting at a moment like this.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around (laughter). When yellow will be mellow (laughter). When the red man can get ahead, man (laughter), and when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

Audience: Amen!

Rev Lowery: Say amen

Audience: Amen!

Rev. Lowery: and amen.

Audience: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

The annual Darwin Awards are named posthumously to those who have managed to die in a feat of great stupidity, thereby removing themselves from the gene pool. The 2008 winner was awarded to Reverend Adelir Antonio di Carli who was attempting to fly in the air for 19 hours suspended by 1,000 helium balloons. The reverend was performing the stunt to raise money to build a “spiritual” trucker’s rest stop in Brazil. He went missing for three months when winds carried him in the wrong direction out to sea. Apparently, the idea of lifting people or even cars with helium balloons is not that uncommon.

 

My barber Kosta is a charming man in his late seventies who originally comes from Greece. I generally stop by the shop once a week for a touchup, but mainly to see that he is okay and to shoot the breeze. Truth told, I often don’t understand everything that he is saying word for word through his thick accent; though I usually catch the jist. Last week, I mentioned that I heard that there was rioting and problems in his homeland. Suddenly I couldn’t grab a word other than “bullshit” repeated over and over. He clearly was angry. Here are some photos of the events currently taking place in Greece.

For some random reason, I just remembered an odd observation I made a few weeks ago on a subway ride. I was sitting adjacent to two young women in their mid-twenties whose faces I can’t recall. I had taken notice of their fast-paced conversation that was taking place in sign language. As their hands frantically drew words back and forth, I could hear the mouthed echo of the two women conversing over the drowning sound from my headphones. The music from my ipod played like a soundtrack to the scene. I noticed that the women were so involved in whatever it was they were discussing, that a baby belonging to one of them went completely unattended in a stroller. I watched on as the doors to the subway which was parked in a station came to a close. And seemingly in slow-motion the train launched forward with a powerful jerk and the child’s stroller rolled backwards several feet down the aisle. Quicker than I could react, I had envisioned the stroller zipping to the far end of the car and coming to a crash. In one spontaneous swoop, the deaf mother spun around and nabbed her child with arms that appeared to extend several yards. Casually, she placed the stroller back into position locking the breaks on the wheels this time and returned to her conversation.

Gobble Gobble all! Should you be in NYC for Thanksgiving this year and don’t have any special dinner plans, here’s an idea:

A reminder to everyone still making last minute holiday plans. This year Palo Santo will be open on Thanksgiving from 4pm to 9pm. Join us for a four course prix fixe menu priced at $45 per person. You are welcome to bring your family - you can be sure that I’ll be bringing mine! We will be serving our take on some seasonal favorites including Heritage Turkeys done as Pavo en Mole Poblano with Cranberry Salsa and Sweet Potato Gratin. We will also have options for pescatarians and vegetarians.

Jacques Gautier
chef / owner

Recently. the director Pes was doing some research at the Woodlawn Cememtary in the Bronx, and happened upon a rather curious epitaph.

LOST LIFE BY STAB IN FALLING ON INK ERASER, EVADING SIX YOUNG WOMEN TRYING TO GIVE HIM BIRTHDAY KISSES IN OFFICE METROPOLITAN LIFE BUILDING

Further research revealed an article from the February 16, 1909 NY Times that details the bizarre account of how an attempted kiss cost young George Millitt his life.

(via kottke)

In 1960, one fifth of the nation’s beer was produced in Brooklyn, New York. By the mid 70’s there were no breweries left in Brooklyn. And now there has been a major resurgence of local breweries opening again. Here is a NY Times article on what happened.

This weekend, The Brazen Head located in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn will host a cask festival offering beer from several of the breweries mentioned in the article.

I was absolutely disgusted to learn that Sarah Palin, the self proclaimed “hockey mom” will be dropping the season opening puck for my hometown Philadelphia Flyer’s. But then I realized that this has the potential to blow up in her face. While she may look at this opportunity as a free way into the hearts of Pennsylvanian’s, she just may learn the hard way how completely unwelcoming Philly sports fans can be.  I can’t wait to see footage of the boos.

Tina Fey returned to SNL this week to once again perform the part of an uncanny Sarah Palin. This time around, she reenacted Palin’s well publicized interview with CBS TV host Katie Couric, in which the Governor struggled to put together a sentence belonging to the English language. I thought perhaps Palin might be simply misunderstood. Maybe she was actually speaking in tongues during the interview, guided by her pentecostal faith. After all, she does have a track record of calling on god to help her through political campaigns. But then I realized what her interview with Couric really reminded me of; Miss South Carolina in the 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant. I guess that comparison isn’t too far fetched. I mean Palin is a former a beauty pageant queen herself.

After saving the economy, John McCain found spare time between naps to show up for the first of three scheduled debates with Obama. Though he desperately wanted to delay the debate, his “tactic” or “strategy” (whichever you prefer) blew up in his own face. McCain had no choice but to face America. I was so glad that he did decide to come. This meant that my elitist friends and I would be entertained with political theater to accompany our cheese plates and fancy cucumber cocktails. We had so much fun laughing and gasping that we managed to miss McCain’s greatest faux pax of the evening, “Horse Shit, Horse Shit.”